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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pluto Update! - NASA's New Horizons Mission


New Horizons - Courtesy NASA

Article: New Horizons Telecast - NASA

NASA TV right NOW has a live broadcast providing updates on the New Horizons mission which will be doing its flyby of Pluto next year.

There are two parts, with two panels of commentators. It started at 1 p.m. EST and goes to 3 p.m. EST. Tune in!

Mission Page: New Horizons - NASA-JPL-APL

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Friday, August 22, 2014

ESA Galileo Launch - Watch Live!


Galileo Launch Live - Courtesy ESA

Article: Galileo Launch Live - ESA

ESA, the European Space Agency, is about to launch two of its Galileo Satellites. They will provide Europe with global positioning capability that will be interoperable with The United States GPS system.

This launch will take Galileo 5 and Galileo 6 into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana. Launch is at 12:27:11 UTC/14:27:11 CEST. That will be 8:27 a.m. EST in The United States.

Mission Page: Galileo - ESA

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Mars 2020 Rover - Illustrated!


Mars 2020 Rover - Courtesy NASA

Article: How NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Will Work - Space.com

NASA is working on plans for its Mars 2020 Rover. It is based on the design of the Curiosity rover, which landed in 2012 and is still going strong!

There is an array of instruments on board. The one that strikes me as coolest is the MOXIE, Mars Oxygen In-situ resource utilization Experiment. It will attempt to do what people hoping for a manned mission have been wanting: a device that takes in Mars' carbon dioxide, and produces oxygen. If successful, this would accomplish a task that would help astronauts live on Mars.

There are plenty of other instruments that will be onboard. So, read the article and see which one is your favorite!

Mission Page: Mars 2020 - NASA-JPL

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Excellent Show on New Space Race!


International Space Station photographed by an STS-132 crew member on May 23, 2010 - Courtesy NASA

Video: The Next Space Race - Bloomberg

NASA and private companies are forging ahead in the new space race! Bloomberg aired an excellent 22-minute documentary on this.

It is available in HD on Netflix:
The Next Space Race - Netflix

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Friday, August 15, 2014

NASA Building Heavy-Lift Rocket


Article: NASA Space Launch System - NASA


NASA is gearing up for its return to human space travel. The Orion space capsule program has been well underway for a while. It's basically an Apollo pace capsule on steroids! Much more room to get more crew to space.

And, getting that capsule into space means developing new rockets. The Space Launch System (SLS) will make that happen. There will be different configurations, from more basic (carrying smaller loads) to more complex (for heavier loads). This will allow NASA to get humans and cargo to anywhere from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to an eventual Mars mission.

The benefits are a customizable launch system that can be adapted to many different configurations for many different objectives!

The infrastructure to make this all happen has a number of components. A ribbon cutting just took place this week at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It is a new "green" building to house the engineers working on SLS. SLS and Orion capsule assembly will be conducted at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. This is the historic location where the Saturn rockets came together! Rocket testing will be conducted at Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

It's an exciting time for those involved in the space program, as well as for those advocates and fans! I will follow the action and post updates as they come in!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Comet Encounter!


Article: A Cosmic First! Rosetta Probe Goes Into Odd-Duck Orbit Around Comet - NBC News


As a strong fan and advocate for space exploration, it's always interesting to discover programs you didn't know existed. It's also great to be reminded of ones that, after years of operation, are finally reaching their intended target.

Such is the case with the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft. It's intention is to orbit a comet while dormant. That is, when it's a ball of rock and ice heading in towards rounding the sun. It's as it gets closer that the trapped ice steams off and you get the characteristic tail.

The craft will release a lander, which will land on the surface and do some very up close observations!

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